EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
The sight of numerous jets taking off from the flightline and the sound of engine roar filling the sky can only mean one thing: RED FLAG-Alaska is underway.
As RED FLAG-Alaska continues to execute its missions and training, the Airmen assigned to the 354th Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Ground Equipment section maintain the ground equipment used to service aircraft.
“Our maintenance and inspection personnel ensure that RED FLAG equipment is readily available as soon as the jets land,” said Airman 1st Class Anna Crawford, 354th MXS AGE journeyman. “A majority of our work here on Eielson supports either the 18th Aggressor Squadron or RED FLAG-Alaska.”
While AGE Airmen, among others, are essential for executing a successful RED FLAG, their mission during this time doesn’t differ from any other day.
“We service, maintain, troubleshoot, repair, and deliver vital equipment to every aircraft that touches our flightline,” said Senior Airman Nathan Chalifoux, 354th MXS AGE journeyman. “Everyday, there are countless new issues to troubleshoot, learn from, and find solutions for.”
Overcoming some of these obstacles is second nature to these Airmen but the Arctic can present its own challenges. Extreme temperatures can create difficulties with equipment needed to complete maintenance on aircraft, but nothing stands in the way of mission accomplishment for these Airmen.
“As AGE technicians, we are very well-rounded in all aspects of maintenance,” added Chalifoux. “Our opportunities to further our knowledge in our career field are endless.”
Due to the abundance of aircraft at Eielson during RED FLAG-Alaska, the workload for AGE Airmen may increase but that doesn’t stop Airmen from getting the job done.
“RED FLAG participants bring their own AGE personnel which helps with the workload,” said Crawford. “However, RED FLAG personnel may not have the same supporting equipment at their base so our job is to reintroduce those units to them and aid them throughout the flightline.”
With the 354th Fighter Wing hosting other units and their aircraft, it’s the Airmen from these units who work together to ensure the exercise is successful. And as RED FLAG-Alaska progresses, AGE Airmen will continue to support the aircraft taking off from the flightline and ensure that the engine roar still fills the skies.